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Eureka, California Eureka, California Eureka, California Eureka, California Eureka, California Eureka, California
Eureka, California

Horse back riding on Moonstone Beach.

How the Alaskan earthquake of 1964 affected Northern California.

You may remember from our Seward, Alaska episode about the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America. It occurred on Good Friday, March 27, 1964. This earthquake was literally off the scale, but was ultimately calculated to be a 9.2 on the Richter Seismic scale.

Alaskan observers saw a strange wave 10 to 12 feet above normal heading into the Pacific. Officials flashed warnings to communities along the West Coast that a tsunami, Japanese for storm wave, was headed their way.

Sheriff's deputies of Crescent city in California's far north immediately went door to door to warn residents. Soon enough three separate waves about 3 feet high rolled through town causing damage, spreading debris, and starting fires. What happened next is a description of events from the Battery Point Lighthouse Museum by Curator Peggy Coons;

"…(the floodtide)withdrew suddenly, as though someone had pulled the plug out of the basin… the water had receded far out, three fourths of a mile or more beyond the outer breakwater. We were looking down as though from a high mountain into a black abyss of rock, reefs, and shoals, never exposed even at the lowest of tides. A vast labyrinth of caves, basins, and pits undreamed of in the wildest of fantasy….

Suddenly there it was, a mammoth wall of water barreling in toward us…"

Although she survived, other residents were not so lucky as the town was deluged by the giant wave. Ultimately 11 people were killed, and 29 blocks of the city were destroyed.

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